We left Sedona, Arizona and headed to camp at the Grand Canyon National Park. Before we left we threw in a few loads of laundry, relished in the “army showers” with hot water, and enjoyed having electricity by having all the lights on and watching a tv show. We knew that when we got to the Grand Canyon we’d be dry camping for three nights – our longest stretch ever! The longest period of time we’d ever dry camped before was just one night… so this was going to be an experience! We were staying at the Watchman Campground inside the Grand Canyon National Park, on the south side.
We knew it was going to be cold when we got there, and the nervous laughter started when we saw a snowflake appear on our weather app… Dry camping means no water, electricity, or sewage hookups. There was a place we could get water once we got there, but after that, we would be relying on our battery since we don’t have a generator or solar panels.
Once we got there we set up camp and pulled out our hefty sleeping bag (thanks mom and dad) so we could stay warm through the night. We had a battery that could run the water pump, furnace, and propane, but we wanted to use it sparingly so we didn’t have to sit in the truck charging our trailer battery. After being cuddled up in bed watching re-runs of Parks and Recreation we had downloaded on our iPad we jumped out of bed around 10pm to peek out the window and the snow was already coming down! We woke up to 6 inches of snow that next morning.
It was SO COLD, but it was amazing!! How often do you get to, #1, go to the Grand Canyon, and #2, get to see snow at the Grand Canyon?! It was beautiful and breathtaking, but again, very cold. So we walked around in it a bit that morning and explored the park, took pictures, and then headed to Starbucks (right outside the park!) to get some work done and charge our phones.
One cool thing about staying where we did was that there are so many things inside the park! Restaurants, shopping, a small museum, a nature center, and many lodging options. We’ve been used to parks where there is camping, an information center, and that’s it! You could easily stay here for a longer vacation and have a lot to do. There were bike trails, hiking for all levels, and a really nice path along the rim of the Grand Canyon.
Since it was so cold I was not game for hiking. Brannon however, is always ready for a hike. I swear he could go every day and not tire of it. So the night after it snowed we prepped his bag for a hike down into the canyon. Layers, lots of water, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Clif bars, flashlight, hat, and non-skid grippers to put on the bottom of his hiking shoes (because of the ice). One thing that makes me less nervous about him hiking alone is making sure he’s got all of the things he could possibly need.
We got up the next morning and I drove him to the trailhead, he started at 9:30am. The plan was for him to go down 2 hours and then hike back up. We figured this would take him about 6 hours and he’d be back at 3:30pm, enough time for him to relax for a little bit and then for us to go and walk along the rim and take pictures of the sunset.
Thank God he had cell-phone signal. I got a text from him around 2 o’clock saying it was going to take him about an hour or so longer than he thought. No big deal, he had cell signal and had been texting me periodically so my anxiety levels were low. He kept checking in as the day goes on and he says he’ll probably be done around 5:30 and to bring water. Knowing he ran out of water was not a good sign. I got over to the trailhead, found parking, and watched for him to pop out around the corner. He finally did at about 5:30pm.
So… turns out he ended up going a little further than according to plan. Because once he saw that he was “close” to the Colorado River, he had to run down and touch it! I mean… when would we be back so he could do it again? I couldn’t believe he did it! Total hiking time was 8 hours and he was so tired. He told me when he saw he had 3 more miles to hike up to get to the rim is when it stopped being fun, which is a pretty big deal. But it’s something he is so proud of now, and I’m really impressed that he did it. Stubborn, adventurous, wild… all words I use to describe this guy.
Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon? Are you a wild hiker like Brannon or a more conservative one like me?